Like them or hate them sequels are part of cinema, but most studios aren’t just happy with one. Three is clearly the magic number when it comes to a saga of films and in many cases the trilogy is let down by one of its entries. Whether this is down to a rushed production to feed off the originals current popularity, or just through a complete lack of necessity, is always up for debate. However, on rare occasions we are given a well-rounded, balanced story arch from beginning to end across three films. So here are 5 perfect movie trilogies.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)/The Two Towers (2002)/The Return of the King (2003)
Directed by Peter Jackson, the Lord of the Rings trilogy is based on the epic novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. Following hobbit Frodo’s (Elijah Wood) quest to rid middle-earth of a powerful ring, from The Fellowship of the Ring, to The Two Towers, ending with The Return of the King. Planned as a trilogy from inception and shot and released over three years, the films maintain consistency and balance across it’s multiple plots throughout. Each film relies on it’s sibling making it a perfect trilogy.
The Toy Story Trilogy
Toy Story (1995)/Toy Story 2 (1999)/Toy Story 3 (2010)
In 1995 Toy Story made history becoming the first feature length computer animated film. After the success of the original a sequel was inevitable, but didn’t see the light of day until 1999. When released it built on the success of it’s predecessor and continued the compelling tale of Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and their friends. Toy Story 3 didn’t arrive until 11 years later, but the well crafted film felt like the characters had never been away.
The Before Trilogy
Before Sunrise (1995)/Before Sunset (2004)/Before Midnight (2013)
Written by director Richard Linklater and it’s two stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, Before Sunrise was followed by Before Sunset and Before Midnight. Over the course of the three films spread out across 18 years we follow Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) from the moment they meet on a train to Vienna, to when they meet again nine years later in Paris and another nine years later when they are married with children on vacation in Greece.
The Jason Bourne Trilogy
The Bourne Identity (2002)/The Bourne Supremacy (2004)/The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Loosely based on the spy novels by acclaimed author Robert Ludlum, the trilogy follows an amnesia struck assassin played by Matt Damon as he discovers his past whilst avoiding government pursuers. The three films redefined the spy genre with it’s combination of complex plotting and brutal gritty action. Despite The Bourne Identity’s satisfying conclusion, it’s sequels managed to re-open the story and delve deeper into Jason’s past life without feeling contrived.
The Back to the Future Trilogy
Back to the Future (1985)/Back to the Future: Part II (1989)/Back to the Future: Part III (1990)
Although the first film’s ending teased a sequel, nothing at the time was planned or expected, but once the film became the highest grossing in 1985 two sequels were greenlit to be filmed back to back and released within a year of each other. With Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis remaining as producer and director respectively it guaranteed a consistent feel across the three films building on the story of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his adventures through time with Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), from 2015 all the way back to 1885.